Lady Jags Head Coach embraces “underdogs” tag

- Underscores importance of playing with caution and respect


By Avenash Ramzan

Despite having home advantage for Friday’s clash in the Concacaf Women’s World Cup Qualifiers, Guyana’s Head Coach Dr. Ivan Joseph believes the Lady Jags will start as underdogs against Nicaragua.

The two nations clash at the National Track and Field Centre, Leonora, from 20:00h as Group F action of the Qualifiers resumes.

To date, the senior national Women’s team has defeated Dominica 4-0 and followed up with a commanding 7-0 drubbing of the Turks and Caicos Islands to command the top spot in the group, being the only team in the five-team Group yet to concede a goal.

Nicaragua, by contrast, lost their opening game 2-1 to Trinidad and Tobago and followed up with a 19-0 whipping of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Head Coach Dr. Ivan Joseph

With only one team from the Group advancing to the next stage of the qualifiers, which also serve as a gateway to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, Dr. Joseph believes the competition is still wide open and Guyana would be approaching their remaining games with caution and respect for the opponents.

“We have a lot of respect for Nicaragua. We’ve seen how talented they are. They’ve played a lot more games (than the Lady Jags) in recent months leading up to this tournament,” Dr. Joseph observed.

“They play organised. They’re a technical (side), very gifted, well coached so I would be lying if I say we weren’t very nervous. I would consider us the underdogs.”

“The 19 goals that Nicaragua scored against Turks and Caicos Islands says they have a high and powerful offence that is to respected and to be feared.”

Following the Nicaragua clash, the Lady Jags will play hosts Trinidad and Tobago in their final group game on April 12 at the Dwight Yorke Stadium, a match that could potentially determine who advances from Group F.

Trinidad, who have won both their games and sit level on points with Guyana but are behind on goal difference, take on the Turks and Caicos Islands on Saturday.

Dr. Joseph and his charges understand all too well the significance of the next few days, as it relates to the success and progression of the national female team programme.

“And because any of these three teams can qualify, we will take them with not just a measure of respect, but with utmost caution as we prepare and try to do our best,” he reasoned.

“I think no matter what the fans would be entertained. You’re going to have two women sides that are battling and giving it their all, and in the game of football anything can happen.

Guyana team: Chante Sandiford (Goalkeeper), Natalie Nedd (Goalkeeper), Raven Edwards-Dowdall (Goalkeeper), Sydney Cummings (Defender), Kayla De Souza (Defender), Rylee Traicoff (Defender), Ghilene Joseph (Defender), Reece Scott (Defender), Brittany Persaud (Midfield), Brianne Desa (Midfield), Briana De Souza (Midfield), Shyla Murray (Midfield), Tiandi Smith (Midfield), Calaigh Copland (Midfield), Shanice Alfred (Midfield), Mariam El-Masri (Midfield), Justine Rodrigues (Midfield), Lakeisha Pearson (Midfield), Annalisa Vincent (Forward), Hannah Baptiste (Forward), Stefanie Kouzas (Forward), Neema Liverpool (Forward) and Otesha Charles (Forward).

Staff: Ivan Joseph (Head Coach), Paul De Abreu (Assistant Coach), Akilah Castello (Assistant Coach), Kevin Sherry (Assistant Coach), Andrew Hazel (Goalkeeper Coach), Matthew Vaughan (Team Doctor), Abiola Blair (Physiotherapist), Nichola Argyle (Equipment Manager), Kasy Kiarash (Performance Analyst) and Andrea Johnson (Operations Manager).

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